PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland law requires drivers to move over one lane if a police or fire vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road. But now, a new expansion of that law will apply to another common roadside vehicle.
Derek Valcourt reports the new law aims to protect tow truck drivers.
Like police officers, it’s not uncommon for tow truck drivers to be injured or even killed as they work on the roadside trying to help stranded drivers.
Tow truck driver James Schreibner was trying to help a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of Route 100 when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2011. He left behind two kids and a devastated wife.
“Because someone didn’t move over and they weren’t paying attention. He’s gone forever,” said Jenna Schreiber, victim’s wife.
Starting October 1, Maryland law will require drivers passing a tow truck on the side of the road to move over one lane when possible–much like they are already required to do for police and fire vehicles.
“This is absolutely a no brainer,” said Sen. Nancy Jacobs, (R) Harford County.
Retiring state Senator Nancy Jacobs helped champion the new expanded law, which is welcomed by tow truck drivers like Wayne Sullivan, who has already been struck by passing cars twice.
“Someone yelled, ‘Lookout!’ And by the time I looked up, it had already gotten to me–got my right side–and next thing I remember I was in a hospital,” Sullivan said.
If you don’t move over and police catch you, it’s a $110 fine and one point on your license. If you don’t move over and cause an accident, it’s a $150 fine and two points on your license. And if you don’t move over and someone is hurt or killed, it’s a $750 fine and three points on your license.
Though the requirement to move over for police was implemented in 2010, officers continue to get hit. State Trooper Jackie Kline was lucky to survive after she was struck during a traffic stop last year.
“Everybody else had the courtesy to move over and slow down except for this one driver,” Kline said.
The latest victim, Corporal Brian Hirsch, was hospitalized after he was struck during a traffic stop early Tuesday morning near College Park.
When this law takes effect Wednesday, Oct. 1, Maryland will join 46 other states that already require drivers to move over for emergency roadside assistance personnel.
Right now, Colorado, New Mexico and Louisiana are the only states that don’t punish drivers for failing to move over for tow trucks.
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